Thursday, January 15, 2015
Will Terror End Austerity?
Since the terror attacks last week, the French government has 1) discovered that its budget deficit for last year was smaller than it thought; 2) dispatched an aircraft carrier to the Middle East (President Hollande flew out to sea in order to see the ship off, in a move reminiscent of George Bush declaring victory in Iraq); 3) canceled scheduled troop reductions, a move necessitated by the deployment of tens of thousands of troops to patrol potential terrorist targets in France; 4) discussed a costly restructuring of its prisons, where radical Islamism has been breeding; 5) discussed costly new security measures in troubled suburbs; 6) promised, in response to the perception that many teachers were unprepared to deal with student reactions to the events, restoration of teacher training eliminated as an economy move under Sarkozy. The cost of these new measures is not clear, but suddenly it seems that austerity-related commitments to reduce spending and cut the deficit are not as binding as they were a week ago. Could this be the beginning of the unraveling of the European modus vivendi--one can't say consensus--regarding the failed theory of "expansionary contraction?" Will Angela Merkel, faced with the Islamophobic Pegida movement at home and unnerved by the events in France, finally admit that the imperative to act means that money must be spent, deficits tolerated, and societies stitched back together after the pummeling they have taken for the past 5 years?